Essence Gel Polish Review

August 3, 2016
essence gel nails

Immediately after getting engaged I started crunching numbers, trying to figure out how much the whole shenanigan would cost us. It’s not the most romantic thing to think about, but it’s absolutely one of the biggest parts of planning a wedding, and the part that looms over every wedding-related decision you make going forward.

I quickly realized that in order to afford even a moderate wedding I needed to cut back on my spending, so I unsubscribed to my beloved spotify, canceled half my subscription boxes, and slashed my grocery budget in half. I also realized that keeping up my makeup buying habit while trying to save would be difficult. So I compromised. There is a whole world of great drugstore makeup that I criminally ignore and this is my chance to explore it.

In my adventure to discover cheaper dupes for the products I love I came across the Essence Gel Polishes. Their colorful display and fun packaging really drew me in, but I was still wary of the quality since everything was SO inexpensive. On a whim I recently picked up one of their $1.99 gel polishes.

After painting my nails I immediately went back to ULTA and bought all the other colors. THEY ARE JUST THAT DAMN GOOD.

essence indian summer

Since these are gels, the formula is on the thicker side but applies smoothly and without leaving any streaks. I also love that despite being gel, they don’t require a UV light to cure. The best part when it comes to application though is easily the brush. I’ve read a few reviews of the polishes and it seems that people are pretty divided. Personally I really like the wider brush. I think it makes application very easy and the bristles are compact enough to let me make extremely precise strokes.

gel polish

I purchased five colors in total.
Indian Summer – A pretty coral.
Rock My World – A deep grey.
Sweet As Candy – A very light pink.
Play With My Mint – A pastel mint.
Amazed By You – A super opaque plum color.

Every color with the exception of Sweet As Candy was completely opaque with just one coat. While Sweet As Candy did become almost completely opaque after the second coat, I had to lay it on pretty thick to get it to look that way. Also yes, I realize I could have painted my nails better. Shhh. It’s okay. Don’t draw attention to it.

Before buying and trying the Essence gel polishes I had stocked up on the Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear and I was extremely disappointed with how long it took for them to dry. In about 5 minutes and after applying a relatively thin coat, I was able to touch my nails without fear of smudging. In comparison, when I applied just one coat of the Sally Hansen Xtreme polish, it took me 15 minutes to get it to be relatively dry. Even then I destroyed my nails after gently bumping my hand while I was cooking. Womp womp.

I applied two coats of Amazed By You and my mani is still going strong on day 4. The shine is as glossy as day 1 and the only sign of wear is a small chip. Since I work in an office typing all day, I’m pretty rough with my nails. I’m extremely impressed with how long these have lasted and I plan on wearing my mani as long as I can.

Final Thoughts:
Essence has a bomb product on their hands and if you’ve been unfairly snubbing them until now then I highly recommend you give these a try. The quality is phenomenal and they are truly unbeatable for the price.


If you have any questions or want an update on how long the polish lasted, comment below! I’ve also created a little Pinterest graphic you can use to pin.

essence polish

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  • Babs August 4, 2016 at 1:41 am

    I love coral and essence! Good quality, low price!

    • shalott August 4, 2016 at 5:29 am

      Absolutely! Are there any other Essence products you love? I’m really interested in exploring their brand more and would love some recommendations!

  • Hilde Janbroers August 4, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Nice colors!!

    • shalott August 10, 2016 at 3:10 pm

      Aren’t they great! I can’t wait to get the rest of the collection.